I’ve had this app for a week and I am not loving it.
I was so excited when Pokémon Go came out. I waited until it was legal in Canada to download it. It came out about five days after the American release, so I had spent that week being bombarded with tweets and articles and hype about just how great this game was. As a long time Pokémon fan (Yellow was the first ever video game I ever played!), I was very excited to be able to use my beloved phone and catch Pokémon in my own backyard!
But of course, as soon as I downloaded it, I was hit with clogged servers. Only after two hours did I finally get to the point where I could make an account and catch a starter, and even that process was slow and laggy.
In order to savour the game, I didn’t do much reading on it before downloading. I mean, who really reads the instructions for things? But I wish I did, because I had no idea what to do. Professor Willow explained nothing and between that and the laggy phone, I ended up just clicking the first Pokémon I saw, which was a Squirtle. Squirtle is cool and all, but Charmander is where it’s at.
Overall, I was very disappointed with the lack of instructions. What is a Pokécandy? What’s that thing on the map? Why would I want more than one Weedle? How do I get money? What do I do at a Pokéstop? Honesty, Professor Oak would never be so negligent. I had to do a lot of Google searching. These articles helped me best: X / X
The multiple Pokémon thing really bugged me. In normal games, I would never even think about catching multiples of the same Pokémon, unless it’s an Eevee or something with different final evolutions. But this game relies on the player catching anything and everything, and then sending the weaker ones to Willow (“sending them for slaughter,” my boss joked). With this logic, we’re unable to really develop any attachments to our Pokémon. It also forces us to catch Pokémon that we likely wouldn’t bother with in the game. I don’t mean to sound like a snob (okay, I kind of do) but Zubats are not worth my time.
The next thing that frustrated me was what a player needed to really succeed at this game. First of all, a data plan. I don’t have one, but luckily my father does, so the few times I’ve been out of wifi zones, I’ve used his unlimited data via hotspot. But isn’t this game kind of geared towards kids? What are children doing with iPhones and data plans? And then there’s the time dedication. I work all day. I try to catch something at lunch and I play a bit before and after work when I’m at home, but all in all, very little time is spent on the game. That’s why I’m at level five. For one to be at level 20+ and have strong Pokémon, they’d need to play a lot. Which I wouldn’t have a problem with if this game wasn’t so popular and competitive. In the normal games, you have no one to compare to. You’re the best, the strongest, the richest. All the characters like you and you’ve caught legendary. But now through this app, we have to compare ourselves to everyone from children to adults all over.
And then there’s the location thing. My town sucks. It’s not even some hick-town-nowhere-land. It’s moderately big and fairly close to a major city. And yet there’s basically nothing in sight on the map’s app. I have no motivation to go explore when I know I’ll have to walk pretty far. Just last weekend my family went on a little trip and the town we stayed in had so many Pokéstops and gyms. It was really unfair.
Not that I really got to experience that town because my app couldn’t stay open for three seconds. Not only does it take a minute or two to load, if it did get going, it’d then immediately crash. In my three days there, I managed to catch a Staryu and a Magicarp while my brother caught like 25 Pokémon and hit up several Pokestops. I was so angry and fed up with trying. But I guess that if the app manages to work for my brother right next to me, then the problem has to be my iPhone 4S. I guess that’s too old to handle such an app. This tweet basically sums my feelings up, though:
I really wanted to love this game. I mean, I appreciate its existence but I do find it very flawed, which is disappointing considering how excited I was to play. I really would have rather this app be more like the normal games, where you can battle people/Pokémon around you, have the opportunity to find rarer Pokémon more often and not use a ton of data and battery to do so. I’m interested to see what updates Nintendo rolls out for this app and whether this Pokémania lasts. Of course I’ll keep playing the game and trying my best, but I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll always be a sucky player and there’s not much I can do about that.
What are your thoughts on the app?